Venture studios – companies that build multiple startups at one time — are all the buzz right now in the rapidly-growing creator space. And with more celebrities and creators on the hunt for work, they’re only increasing in popularity.
Bilal Mekkaoui, co-founder and managing partner of celebrity-backed incubator JOBI Brands, is an expert. He knows the venture space inside and out, so we chatted with him about his journey and what to focus on when you’re building a creator brand.
His company, JOBI Brands, is a celebrity-backed brand venture studio that aims to pair the right celebrities and creators with exciting and growing consumer categories.
So what does the matchmaking process look like when you’re trying to find the right creator for a brand?
The idea behind a venture studio is identifying a brand or product that the team wants to create and identify the key components that will make it work. This includes finding the right celebrity. “You're teaming up with a celebrity to create a company,” Mekkaoui said. “But the point is, you're minimizing marketing costs in a short period of time.”
To start, the team identifies the celebrity, decides what they want to build with them and then presents it as an idea. Ideas are only presented when the team authentically believes that the totally addressable market is big enough for the margins to be solid. Then, they identify who the day-to-day CEO will be — it’s important to think about who is going to run the company and who has specific expertise in the given sector.
With that being said, every deal has its own process — sometimes it starts with an idea for a brand or product and other times it begins with the celebrity or creator. With Courtney Cox’s brand Homecourt, for example, it started Mekkaoui pitching a home brand to Cox on the phone. “That was very authentic because she's OCD in real life,” Mekkaoui said. “She played Monica for 10 years on Friends and she was OCD,” he added. “That really resonated in terms of the product we were building.” When it came to finding the right CEO, the team at JOBI Brands interviewed a wide range of people and landed on Sarah Janke, who came from L’Oréal.
“We launched, and it sold out in the first three hours,” Mekkaoui said, reflecting on the first days of Homecourt.
Interested in building your creator brand or working for one? Reach out to us to start the conversation.
Alexis Benveniste is a New York-based writer and editor whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Bloomberg, Vanity Fair, and other outlets.